New Commanding Officer takes the helm at Coonawarra

This article has photo gallery Published on Mr Darryl Johnston (author), LSIS Jo Dilorenzo (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Coonawarra

Outgoing HMAS Coonawarra Commanding Officer, CMDR Ben Favelle hands over the weight to Commander John Navin during the hand over of command ceremony at HMAS Coonawarra in Darwin. (photo: LSIS Jo Dilorenzo)
Outgoing HMAS Coonawarra Commanding Officer, CMDR Ben Favelle hands over the weight to Commander John Navin during the hand over of command ceremony at HMAS Coonawarra in Darwin.

HMAS Coonawarra welcomed a new Commanding Officer during a formal handover-takeover ceremony in Darwin in December.

Commander (CMDR) John Navin is now officially at the helm of the Northern Territory shore establishment following the handover from CMDR Ben Favelle.

As a former Commanding Officer of Fremantle and Armidale Class Patrol Boats (ACPB), CMDR Navin is looking forward to passing on his operational and command experience from the sea perspective into the Coonawarra support environment.

“HMAS Coonawarra is a vital asset supporting operations and a stepping stone for deployments through South East Asia,” CMDR Navin said.

“The main focus of HMAS Coonawarra under my command will be to continue to provide support to the patrol boats and major fleet units currently on government directed operations.”

During the handover ceremony, CMDR Navin highlighted the role of Coonawarra in supporting capability delivery, Navy’s strong links with the Darwin community and maintaining and enhancing Navy’s positive reputation in Northern Australia.

“With a high operational tempo it is a very challenging period at a time when we must continue to support visiting ships, major fleet exercises and any other Defence activities in the north,” he said.

“My first posting to Darwin was in 1991 as a very junior mid-shipman, I’ve since spent most of my career here in various positions and at sea, so I know how Darwin ticks from a naval perspective and in support of Operation RESOLUTE and Sovereign Borders,” he added.

CMDR Navin was born in Sydney and joined the Navy as a Seaman Officer in 1989.  At 45 years old his career highlights include a number of Sea Commands and an overseas posting to Rarotonga, Cook Islands.

He has previously served as staff officer to Commander Australian Navy Patrol Boat Group, Commanding Officer of the Armidale Class Patrol Boat Trials and Transition Crew, Commanding Officer of HMAS Warrnambool, Maritime Surveillance Advisor to the Cook Islands, Commanding Officer of ACPB crew ASSAIL Two and Commander Minor War Vessel Sea Training Unit.

2014 will be a busy year for the new Commanding Officer but with his diverse experience CMDR Navin is well prepared for the position.

Australia’s Northern Waters play host to major Royal Australian Navy and multi-national exercises and operations involving around 100 visiting Australian and foreign major warships each year.